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citygirl

A&a On Inter-terrace House

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I spoke to an architect recently and he told me that it is the norm for an architect to quote a fee based on percentage of construction cost, and depending on the complexity of the work, is usually 6-12%. When I asked about flat fees, he said it can be calculated by man hours, but the architect will likely factor in a little more.

Hmmm, how odd... All my friends had flat rate (even those not from industry).... about 7 families. In fact, one of the contractors that I interviewed does Design and Build Projects... where the contractor is the architect's client. If I engage an architect through him, I pay $15,000 flat rate for a semi-detached because the contractor takes over the quality supervision. But I found that a bit iffy because there is no check on the contractor. I would rather that the architect report to me directly.

Usually the percentage is higher when contract amount is smaller. You can't run away from the number of drawings required so even as more luxurious materials shouldn't cause more drawings, less luxurious materials doesn't cause less drawings. The number of drawings are about there for a terrace or semi-detached. Timeframe etc for supervision can also be easily scoped.

Again, it depends on what kind of client the architect assesses you to be. Mine actually commented that I had come across as a very demanding client (very picky), and so he layered in extra. I was just being kiasu because I had almost got creamed by my previous architect. My architect said that if he had known that once he had earned my trust, I would be so hands off, he would have charged less. I spoke to him recently (a little unhappily) after reading your posts (and realizing how ex he was) and he said that at the end of the project, he may give me a goodwill discount. I think he will... or I shan't recommend anyone to him at all!! Hmmmmmph!

Edited by petunialee
 

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Started recon works jan-10, top dec-10. Just fyi as reference, about 3000sq ft land size, originally 3500sq ft built-up (2 storey) recon to 6500sq ft built-up (3+attic storey). total at 1.8mil now and still creeping due to materials chosen and still choosing (include professional fees for architect, builder, qs, pe, designer, intended carpentry).

Wow... that's quite a princely sum to spend on redevelopment of your house. :)

 

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Wow... that's quite a princely sum to spend on redevelopment of your house. :)

Actually works out to about $276 PSF which is within market norms for a reconstruction project. Heard that recent tenders have crept up to $300psf. $1.8m is quite a lump sum but the house is so big... :-)

 

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Actually works out to about $276 PSF which is within market norms for a reconstruction project. Heard that recent tenders have crept up to $300psf. $1.8m is quite a lump sum but the house is so big... :-)

Agree with you. Prices of construction is always rising.

Somehow, I still hear of people who said that they rebuild their houses for very small sum in the forum. Not sure if there are lots of hidden cost or the construction is very shoddy. Maybe, some builders have lobang to get very cheap labour, very low cost sub-contractors, very cheap materials and is willing to accept very low profit margin.

 

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Agree with you. Prices of construction is always rising.

Somehow, I still hear of people who said that they rebuild their houses for very small sum in the forum. Not sure if there are lots of hidden cost or the construction is very shoddy. Maybe, some builders have lobang to get very cheap labour, very low cost sub-contractors, very cheap materials and is willing to accept very low profit margin.

There is a big possibility of the main con not paying the sub con fully, which results in tail end problems.

 

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There is a big possibility of the main con not paying the sub con fully, which results in tail end problems.

I heard of horror stories of sub contractor not taking the plywood out after the cement is dried. The sub contractor simply plaster over the plywood. In the end, the whole house leaked badly. The owner has just re-teared down many of the walls to extract the wood and re-plaster the place. Very jialat.

Another story that I heard was the sub contractor use cloth/ sponge to paint over the grills. This resulted in very quick depreciation of the paint work on the grills as the paint is very thin. This one not so bad, just need to clear out the existing paint and re-do the paint work.

Those contractor that don't pay their sub-contractor fairly or don't pay their sub contractor is doing their customer a dis-service. Imagine owner pay contractor to build the house for $800K and the main contractor sub-contract out and the sub-contractor further sub-contract out again of which the tail end guy gets only $400K, I can't imagine the quality of the house construction. I met one such contractor and found his work to be extremely shoddy. He even boasted that as long as owner is happy, nothing will happen. I told him off that the quality of his work was unacceptable and he was basically trying to rip the owner. :furious:

Edited by leechaorui
 

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I am rebuilding a 2.5 storey semi-d, land size 3000sf, built-in around 4200sf. Original hse was demolished and piling was done. My archi charges a flat rate of 60k. Building cost is abt 1m including demolishing. This works out to be 240psf. 20% of the quote went into piling. My agreement was inked 1 year ago. My understanding is current construction cost hovers around 400-500psf based on earlier news articles abt the construction industry.

My quotation is final unless we choose materials that were not spec during our planning process. The risk in any building project is cost spiralling out of control. Thus, be wary when you get relatively low quotes as most contractors, as someone here said, will want to secure their pipeline. Try to be as specific as possible when requesting a quote. This way you can better compare the rates and also avoid any misunderstandings in the building process.

A friend, also in the process of reconstruction, engaged a all in one ID co to provide design and building services. Rates were cheap but he was so frustrated during the design stage that he terminated the service. Time was wasted.

As I am in the process of rebuilding, I am in fact interested to hear from experienced owners, how long they took to complete their house.

Happy rebuilding :)

 

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I am rebuilding a 2.5 storey semi-d, land size 3000sf, built-in around 4200sf. Original hse was demolished and piling was done. My archi charges a flat rate of 60k. Building cost is abt 1m including demolishing. This works out to be 240psf. 20% of the quote went into piling. My agreement was inked 1 year ago. My understanding is current construction cost hovers around 400-500psf based on earlier news articles abt the construction industry.

My quotation is final unless we choose materials that were not spec during our planning process. The risk in any building project is cost spiralling out of control. Thus, be wary when you get relatively low quotes as most contractors, as someone here said, will want to secure their pipeline. Try to be as specific as possible when requesting a quote. This way you can better compare the rates and also avoid any misunderstandings in the building process.

A friend, also in the process of reconstruction, engaged a all in one ID co to provide design and building services. Rates were cheap but he was so frustrated during the design stage that he terminated the service. Time was wasted.

As I am in the process of rebuilding, I am in fact interested to hear from experienced owners, how long they took to complete their house.

Happy rebuilding :)

Congras and good luck on your rebuilding work. Hope to see more of your postings on the process you have taken, your selection process for builders and architect and what you plan to do for your house.

Agree with you that it is important to be more specific in the quotes. However, there will still be many things that one doesn't know and therefore cannot specify such as the quality of cement used, the type of construction method of installing grills (sholder and joint with the rebar from the ground upwards as opposed to installing grills simply by using a bracket), quality of water proofing materials, etc....

Your built in area is huge for 2.5 storey which means that you have larger indoor space and lesser outdoor space as most of the land will be occupied by the building.

20% of your quote ($200K) going into piling is a lot of money. I supposed you are using micro piling and drilling very deep. I am also in the process of constructing my house. My piling cost me about $20K only for approximately 30 piles with penetration of about 25 metres. This included noise monitoring and vibration monitoring for piling works, licensed surveyor to set out the pile point, grid line and ECC, mobilizing of piling machine, PDA test, supply and drive in 150 x 150 RC pile to engineer's proposal and labour to cut off pile head. I am presently in the process of constructing my corner terrace. Although I have neigbours at the side and back, my contractor used RC piling without any major issues.

You may want to review your piling work and cost of piling. For 2.5 storey, I don't think the piling needs to be very deep even when the soil condition is poor. If the soil condition is good, you may only need to do rough foundation which is even cheaper. The money saved can be used to purchase other items for your house construction/ renovation.

Sharing similar experiences with you, I have also encountered friends who have rebuilt their houses using sub-standard contractor and architect. In the end, their house leaked badly, suffered from choke pipes because contractor used exceptionally small pipes to save cost, etc... The building process is frustrating and the end result is poor. Hence, it is important to choose the right builder and architect.

Cheers!

 

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Somehow, I still hear of people who said that they rebuild their houses for very small sum in the forum.

Ha ha, that's exactly what confounded me in the first place, reading how some on this forum have rebuilt their house for so little.

I spoke to my architect further to my initial post and he said that he based his S$1m estimate on a rough cost of S$350psf (my built-up in the new design is over 3000 sq ft). Looks like it's quite a reasonable estimate after all.

 

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Ha ha, that's exactly what confounded me in the first place, reading how some on this forum have rebuilt their house for so little.

I spoke to my architect further to my initial post and he said that he based his S$1m estimate on a rough cost of S$350psf (my built-up in the new design is over 3000 sq ft). Looks like it's quite a reasonable estimate after all.

Don't know how some people manage to re-develop their houses into 3.5 storey for very low budget like $400K or even $500K at today's construction prices. When I get quotations, it is always higher. Partly could be due to my requirements on the type of construction materials used.

I think to build a small house at a budget of $1 million for 3000 plus sq ft is still very high by today's standard. Maybe, your architect is giving you some very high end luxury furnishing, long warranties, state of the art design and exceptional service. A reasonable budget for fairly high quality construction should not exceed $750K to $800K for a house of this size.

I saw in the papers that some high rollers lost many millions in the casino over a few days. No offence or sarcasm, paying a few hundred thousand dollars more for the construction cost of a house may be a big thing for many. However, as long as you are financially comfortable and you like the service and product, it may still be considered as money well spent.

Do share more of your construction in the T/blog. I look forward to seeing your construction process. :)

 

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Ha ha, that's exactly what confounded me in the first place, reading how some on this forum have rebuilt their house for so little.

I spoke to my architect further to my initial post and he said that he based his S$1m estimate on a rough cost of S$350psf (my built-up in the new design is over 3000 sq ft). Looks like it's quite a reasonable estimate after all.

Given that you are still in the planning stage, I suggest you plan to the budget of$350psf but tender aggressively. Look for contractors with reasonable track record but are hungry for business. At the end of the day, if you budget more, you protect yourself from any financial cash flow situation. After the tender, if the cost comes back very high you can always redesign and requote. It's also easy to cut down on the materials quality to reduce cost down the road.

Another tip... Plan well in advance and be kiasu a bit. Don't be like me, I just have to air freight in a box of mosaic tiles from France, freight cost is equal to the cost of the tiles... :bangwall:

 

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Given that you are still in the planning stage, I suggest you plan to the budget of$350psf but tender aggressively. Look for contractors with reasonable track record but are hungry for business. At the end of the day, if you budget more, you protect yourself from any financial cash flow situation. After the tender, if the cost comes back very high you can always redesign and requote. It's also easy to cut down on the materials quality to reduce cost down the road.

do the cost ever comes down??? mine only goes up and up and up....

 

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I read somewhere in this forum about contractors not registered with bca but are building hses. Maybe that explains why so cheap!! If this is true, soooo scary.

But seriously, my understanding is all builders/contractors have to be bca registered, otherwise the archi can't pass through the documentation submission to bca. Construction work cannot start until bca approves.

Thks chaorui for your input. No choice, have to use micro piles n indeed piling is quite extensive in my case as soil condition is poor.

A big part of most rebuilding cost goes to the building structure including roof. So, even for a hse of say 3500sf built-in with reasonable fittings, I agree it's difficult to rebuild at 0.5m (final price) by today's prices (unless u hv connections). 1m appears to be the norm now judging by a few friends' feedback and city girl's experience.

 

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I read somewhere in this forum about contractors not registered with bca but are building hses. Maybe that explains why so cheap!! If this is true, soooo scary.

But seriously, my understanding is all builders/contractors have to be bca registered, otherwise the archi can't pass through the documentation submission to bca. Construction work cannot start until bca approves.

Thks chaorui for your input. No choice, have to use micro piles n indeed piling is quite extensive in my case as soil condition is poor.

A big part of most rebuilding cost goes to the building structure including roof. So, even for a hse of say 3500sf built-in with reasonable fittings, I agree it's difficult to rebuild at 0.5m (final price) by today's prices (unless u hv connections). 1m appears to be the norm now judging by a few friends' feedback and city girl's experience.

You can check on the contractors registration at the BCA website. I think it is not difficult to register with BCA. Only thing is most of the contractors are small timers and they can't bid for big projects (eg. condo development). However, bidding for bungalows and terrace houses are no problem.

Even when the soil condition is very poor, you can still avoid micro piling. Go for second and third opinion from civil engineers and you will soon know that micro piling can be substituted easily by using RC piling. Only thing is your contractor needs to be experienced enough to do RC piling in a way that vibration is reduced and nearby properties are not affected.

$500K all cost inclusive is a difficult figure to work on. $1 million for above average furnishing looks excessive for a built in of 3000 plus sqft. I build my place for $700K, all cost inclusive. I think built in is about 4000 sqft.

Nonetheless, it is good that you have a bigger budget to work on. With your budget, I am sure you can get super luxurious furnishing if you go for competitive tender and control cost well. :D

Edited by leechaorui
 

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I read somewhere in this forum about contractors not registered with bca but are building hses. Maybe that explains why so cheap!! If this is true, soooo scary.

But seriously, my understanding is all builders/contractors have to be bca registered, otherwise the archi can't pass through the documentation submission to bca. Construction work cannot start until bca approves.

Thks chaorui for your input. No choice, have to use micro piles n indeed piling is quite extensive in my case as soil condition is poor.

A big part of most rebuilding cost goes to the building structure including roof. So, even for a hse of say 3500sf built-in with reasonable fittings, I agree it's difficult to rebuild at 0.5m (final price) by today's prices (unless u hv connections). 1m appears to be the norm now judging by a few friends' feedback and city girl's experience.

One option you might want to consider is to use steel instead of cement structure. Steel is lighter in weight and you can get away with thinner beams and columns. I had to pile as well until I decided to switch to steel. I paid more for steel but saved on micro piles and there is a net savings. Further more, it's much faster to build using steel.

 

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